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Critical Digital Pedagogy in the Platform Society  

Earl Aguilera and Christina Salazar

The term “critical digital pedagogy” has been used to describe a broad range of approaches to teaching and learning rooted in critical theory, digital cultural studies, and the liberatory education promoted within schools of critical pedagogy since the 1960s. References to critical digital pedagogy began to appear in published scholarly literature in the early 2000s as a response to the expansion of neoliberal ideologies and policies in an age of proliferating digital and networked technologies. These shifts in technological, economic, and social organization have since become collectively described as the “platformization” of society, driven by processes such as datafication, commodification, and algorithmic selection. In response to concerns about the neoliberalization, dehumanization, and platformization of education specifically, the emergent field of critical digital pedagogy has coalesced into a community of educators, designers, and theorists with an international scope, though the majority of published scholarship originates from the United States and the European Union. While the approaches and methods that the proponents of critical digital pedagogy engage with are varied, three broad families of practice include critical instructional design, humanizing online teaching and learning, and digital ungrading. Following earlier traditions of critical pedagogy, practitioners in the field of critical digital pedagogy find themselves grappling with critiques of their approaches as overly politicized, ideologically driven, and pragmatically limited. Open issues in the field include the expanding role of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the role of political activism beyond the classroom, and the addressing of intersections between race, class, and other dimensions of identity within a critical framework.


Curriculum in a Third Space  

Hongyu Wang and Jo Flory

Curriculum in a third space has become an important theory in the field of curriculum studies in the postcolonial and postmodern context, in which new approaches to social and cultural differences in education have been developed. Curriculum and education in the early 21st century face the challenging tasks of responding in a time of uncertainty, complexity, paradoxes, and crisis: How do educators navigate the central relationship between the knower and the known while both are destabilized in a postmodern condition? What are curricular responses to the issue of identity, difference, and power relationships at schools in order to carve out alternative pathways beyond dualistic either/or thinking? How can differences and tensions be transformed into productive sites for curriculum and pedagogical creativity? The notion of the third space characterized by the alterity of psychical and social difference, the necessity for cultural translation, and the creativity of dynamic hybridity, addresses such critical questions. Curriculum in a third space embraces creative tensionality, decentering and estrangement, and making passages in the midst of hybridity. Translating between the planned curriculum and experienced curriculum mobilizes the highly contested site of identity, difference, and community into an ongoing process of attending to the language of the (maternal) other, building connections between the human subject and the academic subject, and nurturing a curriculum community that welcomes the stranger. As the notion of a third space is often formulated in intercultural, transnational, and global situations, internationalizing curriculum studies becomes a movement of differentiating and passaging within, between, and among the individual, the local, the national, and the global in a third space. Aligned with such a vision of curriculum, a pedagogy of a third space is also set in motion by hybrid resistance, openness to displacement, and fluid interdisciplinary collaboration. Pedagogies in specific subject areas open up third possibilities through building dynamic relationships between school knowledge and home experiences, transforming pedagogical relationships, and navigating blended classrooms of face-to-face and digital interactions.